Friday, 15 May 2009

Just To Let You Know

In case anyone's wondering why I've vanished off the face of blogdom recently, I'm locked away in a high tower working on editing a novel that I wrote last November for National Novel Writing Month. As soon as I finish that, which should hopefully be soon, normal meme-ing will be resumed. Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sunday Stealing: The 2 for 1 Meme

You can play here.

1. What is on the walls of your room?


2. What type of music do you listen to?

An eclectic mix of unpopular music. Mostly singer/songwriters.

3. What do you want more than anything right now?

To go to sleep. It's been a busy day.

4. Do you get scared in the dark?

Not unless something scary's happening, no.

5. What's your worst fear?

Loved ones getting sick or dying or both.

6. If you could do anything right now, what would it be?

Isn't this basically the same as question number three? Even if it isn't, I'd still like to sleep please, but the questions keep on coming.

7. What’s the meaningful gift that you’ve received?

I think they're all fairly meaningful. My nonsensical gifts are few and far between.

8. Do you have a crush?

Yes, thanks.

9. Who is your favorite celebrity?

I don't have a favourite celebrity.

10. Could you fall in love with someone that you know must leave?


11. Share a favorite quote of yours.

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Dorothy Parker

12. What’s your weakness?

Vimto. I just can't say no.

13. Do you believe that we all have a soul mate?

It's a nice thought, but I'm kind of skeptical.

14. What were you doing before Sunday Stealing?

If you mean just before I started answering these questions, then cleaning my teeth and then reading some emails. If you mean what I was doing in the days before this meme came along, then the answer was getting lots more sleep.

15. What do you get complicated about the most?

Not sure if I've fully understood the question, but that would probably be talking about computer programming, which I do quite a lot in my job, and it can get really complicated (at least it can when I'm trying to explain things).

16. What turns you off the most from a potential partner?

Well if they've got potential, all sorts of things I'd normally see as turn offs, I might overlook or suddenly see as turn ons, so I'm not sure. Dishonesty maybe.

17. What is your worst habit?


18. When was the last time that you were jealous?

That would be earlier this year.

19. Have you ever had a “friend with benefits”?

No, though I've had some friends with disadvantages.

20. Do you use sarcasm?

Use it? I wear it out.

21. At the moment, what’s your favorite song?

"Someone Keeps Moving My Chair" by They Might Be Giants, though it's been my favourite song for the last couple of decades.

22. What is your favorite day of the year?

Probably Christmas Day, though it depends on what relatives are visiting.

23. Describe your love life.


24. When was your last one night stand?

Never had one. Told you my love life was uneventful.

25. How many past lovers are too many?

I don't think the quantity matters.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Saturday 9: With a Little Help From My Friends

Here's my answers to this week's questions from the Saturday 9 Meme:

1. How many of your friendships have lasted more than ten years?

Of my current friendships, four or five maybe (plus there are quite a few people where I work that I've known for more than ten years; indeed the four or five friendships I mention were people I met through work).

2. Which of your current friends do you feel will still be important to you ten years from now?

I've no way of knowing. In an ideal world, all of them, since I don't particularly relish losing friends, but I doubt that will be the case.

3. It's Friday evening and you're planning your weekend. What's on your agenda?

My weekend tends to be fairly routine, so I don't usually need to plan it.

Friday night I post and email out some solicits for a comic book site I'm involved with and then invariably fall asleep watching television (sometimes during American Idol so I miss the result, but this week it was during Have I Got News For You). I might also, should I be awake enough, fit this meme in (as I'm doing now).

Saturday I pop round to my sister's house, we go shopping, I spoil my nephew and niece, everything ends in pizzas and Primeval (a TV show about time-travelling dinosaurs) and then I rush home to catch the end of Britain's Got Talent. Hopefully I'll then get some editing done on a novel that I'm writing on borrowed time and then possibly start the Sunday Stealing meme.

Sunday I hopefully do some more editing (I've got both my novel and someone else's Aquaman fanfiction to look at this weekend), have Sunday lunch, watch some telly, have Sunday tea, and then go and do lots of commuting before starting work on the Monday.

Sorry to be so vague, but like I say I don't plan anything.

4. What was the most recent movie to scare you or give you the creeps?

Probably a horror movie where something jumped out suddenly, but it's been a while since I saw one of those and I can't remember what the last one was.

5. Finally, the new cast and movie of Star Trek are out. Excited or indifferent?

Well, it's been getting great reviews, so I'm interested in seeing it (although excited may be too strong a word).

6. Do you have any nervous habits?

I don't think so, but it's possible I'm too nervous to notice them at the time.

7. Do you swear in general?

No. The nearest I tend to get is saying flip if something goes wrong (or flip-a-dee-doo-dah if things go really wrong).

8. Do you swear on your blog?

No, although I'm tempted to do so now just for comic effect.

9. Does it bother you when you read a post with curse words?

No, not in the least. Some of my favourite posts have curse words.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Thursday 13: Self-Referential, Moi?

Header from samulli

Following my last Thursday Thirteen, here's yet another list of songs. I remember (or possibly misremember) Douglas R. Hofstadter claiming, in his book Metamagical Themas, that all great art is self-referential, so with that in mind this week's Thursday 13 lists thirteen songs that refer to themselves:

1. Hook - Blues Traveller

Probably my favourite self-referential song, this is a song all about itself and its own hook. Also, there's a bit near the end that's ridiculously catchy.

2. True - Spandau Ballet

A song that could have easily fitted in my last Thursday 13 about repetitive songs, since it seems to have been written solely with the purpose of seeing how many times the word 'True' could be mentioned. Somewhere, amidst all the 'True's, there's the refreshingly honest Why do I find it hard to write the next line? which I assume refers to the song. Maybe the answer to why he finds it so hard is due to the next line not containing the word 'true' (although it does contain the word 'truth' so it's not exactly a radical departure). Of course, it might not be a self-referential song, and the singer could be just be struggling to write a letter, or possibly blogging (in which case the reason he found it so hard to write the next line would be that blogging hadn't yet been invented).

3. The Leaves That Are Green - Paul Simon

I've already mentioned this in a previous Thursday 13, and its opening self-referential lines of
I was twenty-one years when I wrote this, I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long which were later appropriated for Billy Bragg's New England. It now also occurs to me that its "Hello Hello Hello" refrain might have been appropriated decades later by Nirvana for Smells Like Teen Spirit, not to mention by stereotypical English policemen.

4. Yes Sir, I Can Boogie - Baccara

Probably the best thing about the song is its wonderfully self-referential lines You wanna know if I can dance, Yes Sir, Already told you in the first verse, And in the chorus.

5. Boring Song - Status Quid

A fairly accurate parody of the British band Status Quo, in this self-proclaimed boring song performed by the Hee Bee Gee Bees on their sadly now-unavailable album "Never Mind The Originals, Here's The Hee Bee Gee Bees". Also slightly self-referential is their Bee Gees parody Meaningless Songs In Very High Voices which is indeed a meaningless song sung in very high voices. The writer of the songs, Philip Pope, went on to write near enough all the songs for the UK version of Spitting Image.

6. Thank You For The Music - Abba

Thank you for the music, the song I'm singing sang the palindromic pop sensations, who were so brilliant they never even bothered releasing this masterpiece as a single at the time. Soon afterwards, aged Forces' Sweetheart Vera Lynn used to turn up on UK TV occasionally singing this, but she never included the first verse which began I'm nothing special, in fact I'm a bit of a bore - not particularly interesting admittedly, but it segues nicely into my next choice:

7. You're So Vain - Carly Simon

You're so vain, I bet you think this song is about you. But if you were to think that you'd be wrong, it is of course about me.

8. Your Song - Elton John

If you really want a song to be about you, then you can tell everybody that this is your song. Actually there are quite a number of self-referential songs with the word "Song" in the title: The Beautiful South's beautifully cynical Song For Whoever, The Beatles' Only a Northern Song, Petula Clark's This Is My Song, Simon and Garfunkel's "Song For The Asking", and Scarlet's "Independent Love Song" spring to mind.

9. The Intro and The Outro - Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

A song devoted entirely to introducing the band and their amazing guests.

10. Number Three - They Might Be Giants

The third song from their eponymous debut album, which declares Since there's just two songs in me
and this is Number Three

11. School's Out - Alice Cooper

After some cool puns about class and principles/principals, Alice cleverly gets around the lack of rhymes for 'principles' with the line We can't even think of a word that rhymes.

12. 99 Luftballons - Nena

I got the idea for this week's Thursday 13, but was struggling to come up with anything after my first eleven, so I started googling and found that my idea wasn't the least bit original and had already been done ridiculously comprehensively already at the List of Self-Referential Songs (a similar thing happened with my Comic Book Romance Thursday 13 when I came across a site called coincidentally enough A Comic Book Romance). Anyway, from fairly early on in the site, I went with Nena's Neunundneunzig Luftballons which refers to itself in the German version, but not in the English version Ninety-Nine Red Balloons. The German version is also used in the movie Watchmen, which I tend to mention a lot on this blog (and I'm assuming the Watchmen fans out there are net-savvy enough to have already discovered that cool '80s Saturday morning cartoon version of it, so don't need me to tell them about it).

13. Tribute - Tenacious D

A song about the greatest song in the world, which seems self-referential, but near the end they reveal And the peculiar thing is this my friends: the song we sang on that fateful night it didn't actually sound anything like this song, which I guess it means it really shouldn't be on this list, but, hey, it was either this or Joe Pasquale's I Know A Song That'll Get On Your Nerves (thankfully one of the songs I couldn't find a link for on Youtube).

So, that's the end of my list. Please let me know if there are any of your favourite self-referential songs I've missed.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Tuesday Tunes: Music and Travel

Over at The Music Memoirs they're asking about music and travel:

What music format do you take when you roadtrip and why? (CD, mp3 etc)

I don't roadtrip that often, since I don't drive, and if someone else is driving I tend to get stuck listening to whatever they're listening to. If I'm commuting, which I do a lot of the time, I listen to mp3s just because that way I can have all my music with me.

Do you ever make special mixes or playlists just for your trip?

No, I use Shuffle, it tends to be more of a surprise that way, and arguably a better choice of music.

Have you ever associated a certain album or band with a trip you made?

Not really; it tends to be certain individual songs more than albums or bands that I associate with trips.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog are asking all about movies featuring animals, so here's my pick:

King Kong (a large gorilla)

Dumbo (a mouse, five crows, and elephants of both grey and pink varieties)

Doctor Dolittle (everything from cockatoos and chimpanzees to pushmepullyous and lunar moths)

Babe (pigs, duck, sheep, dogs)

Cats & Dogs (cats and dogs)

Good Boy (a dog from outer space, way better than Disney's The Cat From Outer Space)

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Twenty Firsts Meme

You can play here.

First Job: Computer Programmer

First Real Job: Same as the previous answer. It's the only job I've ever done.

First Favorite Politician: I've never had a favourite politician.

First Car: Probably a small Matchbox one.

First Record/CD: I think my first record was T Rex's single "Children of the Revolution". My first CD was a Suzanne Vega single "Left of Center" which I got before I actually possessed anything to play it on, such was my fannish zeal.

First Sport Played: Soccer.

First Concert: I remember being taken to see Peter Noone when I was five or six maybe.

First Foreign Country Visited: France. I went on a ski trip to Cauterets with the school.

First Favorite TV Show: Get Smart.

First Favorite Actor: Tony Curtis (thanks to The Great Race)

First Favorite Actress: Jane Fonda (thanks to Cat Ballou)

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend: Her name was Catherine and I met her on the ski trip mentioned earlier when I was thirteen or fourteen.

First Encounter with a Famous Person: She wasn't famous at the time, but When I was eleven, there was a girl in my class called Cathryn Bradshaw who went on to become an actress.

First Brush With Death: Probably being born - if that doctor hadn't slapped me when he did I would have been a goner, I tell you. To tell the truth, I went through all manners of disasters as a kid (setting the bed on fire, having a big stone land on my head, being hit by a car) that I just shrugged off then, but looking back now I guess could have potentially killed me.

First House/Condo Owned: I've never owned anywhere, I've only ever rented.

First Film Seen: I can't remember a time when I wasn't watching films, so I've no idea which once came first. The first one I can remember was "Genghis Khan".

First Favorite Recording Artist: Sweet.

First Favorite Radio Station: Radio One.

First Book I Remember Reading: Dr. Seuss's "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish". There were others before that, but that's the only one that sticks in my memory.

First Meme You Answered on Your Blog: The Monday Movie Meme from The Bumbles Blog.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Saturday 9: Settling the Score

Here's my answers to this week's questions from the Saturday 9 Meme:

1. Do you feel that you have “a score to settle” with anyone?


2. Do you own anything that you think is unbreakable?

The DVD of Unbreakable comes to mind.

3. Tell us about a crazy thing you did in high school.

I don't think I did any crazy things, more nerdy things (I had the square root of ten, well both square roots of ten for that matter, written on my bag to the seven decimal places that my Casio fx-31 calculator would give). I think I saved all my crazy things for university.

4. Name the one talent of yours that you think is the best.

I'm quite impressive at recalling trivia, which has proved useful in pub quizzes in the past.

5. Who wins American Idol? (if you don’t watch, tell us about a reality show that you do follow.)

Adam seems the obvious choice. Failing that Danny (he doesn't seem as original or talented as Adam, but he does seem more traditional and likeable which could snare him enough votes).

6. What is your favorite movie in black & white?

It's A Wonderful Life

7. What is one thing advertised too much on TV?

The BBC are always putting on low definition adverts for High Definition channels, which seems a bit pointless.

8. What is your current favorite TV drama?

Probably Doctor Who, although it's not on much this year.

9. What is your current favorite TV comedy?

Flight of the Conchords